The Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update has been released for numerous carriers in the United States which means that soon, the hype for Android 4.3 will clear out and make way for anticipation for another big time Android update, Android 4.4 KitKat. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 4.4 KitKat update hasn’t been announced yet but users are already looking toward the future, some even beyond KitKat.
In September, Samsung announced a trio of big updates for its Galaxy line of smartphones. In October, the company confirmed them to be Android 4.3 Jelly Bean updates for the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2. As expected, the Galaxy S4 was the first to receive its update as the roll out began just a few short days after Samsung confirmed its arrival.
Surprisingly, Sprint and Verizon were on the forefront of this update, releasing their Galaxy S4 upgrades in late October, well before their rivals. Weeks later, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and AT&T joined the fray though AT&T and U.S. Cellular were forced to halt their upgrades due to some issues plaguing the software. Those issues were never made public but we had heard about a number of issues from those who did manage to get the upgrades before the stoppage. Owners complained about connectivity issues though those were never confirmed as the source of the stoppage.
Now that the Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update has reached the United States, users are likely engaging their new features which include Samsung Knox and a number of enhancements to software already on board. Like any update though, it will soon lose its luster and Galaxy S4 users will once again be wondering about what’s next.
The what’s next is likely going to be Android 4.4 KitKat, an update that Google released in November and an update that should bring a number of features to Galaxy S4 owners. But what about between now and KitKat? What about after Android 4.4? Here, we take a look at what Galaxy S4 owners should expect from the future, after the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update.
Lingering Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 Problems
Again, we’ve been hearing various complaints about the Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update. For instance, Verizon Galaxy S4 owners are complaining about random crashes, charging issues, UI performance problems, and more. We’re hearing about issues with other Galaxy S4 variants as well. Problem is, we expect these problems to linger around for Galaxy S4 users.
While the Galaxy S4 Android 4.3 update was pulled, likely due to issues, the new update likely won’t fix everything for everybody. What’s even worse is that massive bug fix updates usually don’t see fast roll outs on U.S. carriers. Instead, they can take months, if not longer. We will likely see small little bug fix updates like the one that rolled out today for the Sprint Galaxy S4, but nothing more major that that.
So there is no guarantee that Galaxy S4 users will see a wide-sweeping bug fix update between now and Android 4.4 KitKat, an update that is rumored for early 2014, possibly in January.
Instead, we expect Android 4.4 KitKat to serve as the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean bug fix update, at least on some carriers. While there is a chance that carriers like Verizon could push out a smaller bug fix update for Android 4.3 ahead of Android 4.4, we wouldn’t be surprised, given how close the release is said to be, if they attached fixes on board Android 4.4 instead.
At the very least, don’t expect anything to roll out soon. Those who have owned an Android phone before know that these bug fix updates don’t just appear overnight. It’s going to take some time which means that Galaxy S4 users should expect these issues to linger.
Android 4.4 KitKat Update & Much More
The Samsung Galaxy S4 will get Android 4.4 KitKat. It’s not confirmed, it’s rumored, but it will get Android 4.4 KitKat. How do we know this? Well, Samsung isn’t going to update the Galaxy S4 with one major Android update which is all it has received thus far. Android 4.3 represented the first major update for the Galaxy S4 and there is simply no way that it will be the last.
Android 4.4 KitKat is a given and we expect there to be more updates after that. Typically, Samsung devices get two years of support which means that we expect it to get any and all Android updates that roll out in 2014 and there is a distinct chance that it could get another update after that though the odds are slim given that it arrived in April and Google likely won’t announce an Android update until the middle of 2015, more than two years after the Galaxy S4′s release.
So at this point, users will want to expect at least two more major Android updates for the Galaxy S4, updates that should also entail major upgrades to the device’s TouchWiz user interface.
Summer/Fall Release for Post-Android 4.4 KitKat Upgrade
Android 4.4 KitKat is rumored for January, a rumor that may or may not hold up. If it doesn’t, we still expect the Galaxy S4 to be the first Galaxy device upgraded to Android 4.4. We also expect that upgrade process to begin at some point during the first or second quarter of next year. But how about after that?
Google has shown a willingness to debut new Android software in the middle of the year. This year it was Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Last year, it was Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Next year, who knows, but it’s likely going to arrive in the middle of the year. That means that Galaxy S4 owners should be expecting an update in the beginning of the year, to Android 4.4 KitKat, and another update in the summer or fall.
Samsung usually takes a few weeks or months, to upgrade their devices and so we expect an arrival at some point in the summer of fall of next year. Things could certainly change but at this point, expect updates early and late in 2014 with a possible bug fix or TouchWiz enhancement update in between.
Same Update Process
When it comes to these roll outs, Galaxy S4 owners should expect to see a familiar release process emerge. Here is how we expect the release processes for both of these updates to play out:
- Early rumors about a release window.
- In the weeks after those rumors, a substantial release date leak that all but confirms Samsung’s plans and narrows down a window.
- A Galaxy S4 update leak, likely test firmware, a sign that the update is getting closer.
- Almost no communication from Samsung or the carriers that host the Galaxy S4.
- Samsung to finally confirm the update when its weeks away.
- Another update leak, closer to the final version.
- International Galaxy S4 variant or variants to see the update first.
- U.S. Galaxy S4 next.
The Galaxy S4 was announced in the United States and thus, it should be among the first to get Android 4.4 KitKat and any other updates that Samsung rolls out. Typically, we’ve seen Samsung push updates to the launch region first, so it could be that the United States gets the software a few days, or weeks after the international push rather than months after.
Software updates are very rarely flawless and Samsung updates are no exception. We’ve seen Galaxy S4 owners complaining about Android 4.3 bugs and those problems don’t just extend to the Galaxy S4. Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 owners are seeing issues as well. This is not uncommon, it happens after almost every software update, Samsung or otherwise.
So, Galaxy S4 owners should expect to see Android 4.4 KitKat problems, should expect to see problems from the update that comes after Android 4.4. It’s just a fact of the update process and at this point, we expect the trend to continue into 2014 and beyond. Hopefully, the bugs are smaller and less pesky than the Android 4.3 issues that have plagued Samsung’s roll outs.
No Need to Upgrade in 2014
Finally, Samsung Galaxy S4 owners should expect not to have to upgrade in 2014. What we mean is that Android 4.4 KitKat and whatever lies ahead after that, should help to make the Galaxy S4 experience fresher, and better, than it is right now. More features, improved features, and more will ensure that the Galaxy S4 lives well beyond its first birthday. In fact, it will likely hold up until 2015 and beyond.
Fantastic software support is one of the keys to Apple’s success with the iPhone. Users can buy an iPhone knowing they will have three years of solid iOS support. Samsung is doing its best to emulate that. And while it may not be a three year plan for the Galaxy S4, the future is looking extremely bright for those that have already bought or are planning on buying into the Galaxy S4 in the future.